Title:
Element for composing a track of the fall type for run of marbles
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An element for composing a track of the fall type for run of marbles, which comprises a guide member for insertion of marbles to be placed beneath the arrival of a preceding track element or at the upper start point of a track, an exit guide member to be placed at a level lower than the level of the insertion guide member over the start end of a subsequent track element, and a track section extending in the form of a pair of rails from said insertion guide member to said exit guide member, by following at least in part a helicoidal trajectory. Preferably, this latter track section comprises a rectilinear section for approach to the helicoidal portion. The entire track element is embodied in a single piece of plastics formed in plane configuration and it is then rendered three-dimensional by insertion of spacers.



Inventors:
Quercetti, Alessandro (Torino, IT)
Application Number:
10/755273
Publication Date:
10/07/2004
Filing Date:
01/13/2004
Assignee:
QUERCETTI ALESSANDRO
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F7/02; A63F7/36; A63H29/10; (IPC1-7): A63H29/10
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ACKUN, JACOB K
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
NIXON & VANDERHYE, PC (ARLINGTON, VA, US)
Claims:
1. A track element for composing a track of the fall type for run of marbles, comprising a guide member for the insertion of marbles, intended to be placed beneath the arrival of a preceding track element or at the upper start point of a track, an exit guide member for the marbles, intended to be placed at a level lower than the level of the insertion guide member and generally over the start end of a subsequent track element, and a track section extending in the form of a pair of rails from said insertion guide member to said exit guide member, by following at least in part a helicoidal trajectory.

2. A track element as set forth in claim 1, wherein said track section in the form of a pair of rails which follows at least in part a helicoidal trajectory has an initial rectilinear section and a final helicoidal section, said initial rectilinear section serving for the approach of the marbles to said final helicoidal section.

3. A track element as set forth in claim 1, wherein said track section extending from said insertion guide member to said exit guide member comprises a pair of rails and a number of curved sleepers which are connected from point to point to said rails, said curved sleepers having their concavity directed upwards.

4. A track element as set forth in claim 1 which, in its whole comprising said insertion guide member, said exit guide member and said track section, is manufactured as a single piece of plastic material.

5. A track element as set forth in claim 1 which, in its whole comprising said insertion guide member, said exit guide member and said track section, is manufactured as a single piece of plastic material in a substantial plane configuration, and further comprising spacers engaged in some points for imparting the correct disposition of the different portions in the height.

6. A track element as set forth in claim 1, further comprising a pair of rails, a number of sleepers mutually connecting said rails, some of said sleepers having bottom protrusions, and a number of spacers in the form of a Z, engaged on said bottom protrusions of some sleepers.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] This invention concerns an element for composing a track of the fall type for run of marbles.

[0002] Are well known toys in the form of variously shaped tracks on which marbles may be caused to run by gravity. These tracks may be classified in two types: the continuous tracks, formed by a number of elements juxtaposed the one in continuation of the other to form an uninterrupted track on which the marbles run in continuous manner; and the fall type tracks, formed by a number of elements each having a start end and an exit end, the exit end of each element (with the exception of the last one) being placed at a certain height above the start end of the subsequent track element, whereby a marble runs over each element and, when it arrives at the exit end thereof, it passes by fall on the start end of the subsequent track element and it starts run thereon. The present invention concerns an element intended for composing this latter type of fall type track.

[0003] A disadvantage generally suffered by these fall type tracks resides in that each track element cannot have a great extension in order to limit the overall size of the track, and therefore it represents a very short stretch of the marble run, which is covered in a very limited time. This reduces the attraction of the play. In order to ensure a more protracted permanency of the marble on each track element, have been provided some track elements in the shape of a basin, wherein the marble is inserted tangentially at the start end, whereby it runs in the basin along turns of gradually decreasing radii, until it falls into a central opening forming the exit end of the element, through which the marble falls on the start end of the subsequent track element.

[0004] These basin shaped track elements have several disadvantages. From the point of view of the behavior of the marble, often takes place a troublesome irregularity, because the marble can run along a very various number of turns in the basin, and it can also remain for a too long time near the central opening before entering therein. Moreover, if the element has not been installed correctly, or the entering conditions are somewhat irregular, the marble does not run along a uniform helicoidal trajectory. From the point of view of the look of the toy, the basin shaped element is a bulky element which hinders or prevents the observation of the elements situated below and of the run of the marble on these elements. From the point of view of the manufacture, the basin shaped element is a body having three extended dimensions, whose molding is relatively expensive and involves the use of a relatively great quantity of material. Finally, from the point of view of the wrapping, the basin shaped elements occupy a great space, whereby the whole of the track requires a bulky wrapping.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] The object of the present invention is to provide an element for composing a fall type track for run of marbles, which should have the advantage of ensuring a relatively long permanency of the marbles on the track element, though avoiding the above stated disadvantages of the basin shaped elements.

[0006] To this aim, the track element according to the invention comprises a guide member for the insertion of marbles, intended to be placed beneath the arrival of a preceding track element or at the upper start point of a track, an exit guide member for the marbles, intended to be placed at a level lower than the level of the insertion guide member and generally over the start end of a subsequent track element, and a track section extending in the form of a pair of rails from said insertion guide member to said exit guide member, by following at least in part a helicoidal trajectory.

[0007] In this way, the marble finds in this track element a run very longer than the overall size of the element, and therefore it remains on this track element during a relatively long period of time, which however is uniformly preestablished and is not subject to fortuitous modifications, and its curved run has a special attractive. Even if the installation has not been perfect, this fact only causes some modifications in the marble speed, but no trajectory irregularity. Because this track element has not the solid character of a basin, it cannot disturb the observation of the track elements situated below and of the run of the marble on these track elements.

[0008] Advantageously, the track section in the form of a pair of rails which follows at least in part a helicoidal trajectory from said insertion guide member to said exit guide member has an initial rectilinear section and a final helicoidal section. It is formed by a pair of rails which are connected from point to point by sleepers, thus substantially reproducing the look of a railway track. This structure allows embodying the track element with the minimum use of material that is compatible with the resistance and stiffness of the track element.

[0009] The track element according to the invention can be manufactured as a single piece of plastic material, in plane configuration, and then the correct disposition of the different portions in the height is obtained by means of spacers engaged in suitable points of the track element. In this way the molding with plastic material of the track element is rendered very easy and inexpensive. Moreover, the track element still missing the spacers is substantially plane and it occupies a reduced space in a wrapping, whereas it assumes its important three-dimensional character and a sturdy consistency when the spacers, by an easy operation, have been engaged. It is of advantage when said spacers are in the form of a Z and are engaged on protrusions of the bottom surfaces of some sleepers.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING

[0010] These and other features, objects and advantages of the subject of this invention will appear more clearly from the following description of an embodiment, having the character of a not limiting example, with reference to the appended drawings, wherein:

[0011] FIG. 1 is a plan view of an exemplary track element according to the invention, still in its substantially plane configuration, and points at the places wherein the spacers are to be engaged.

[0012] FIGS. 2 and 3 show two cross sections taken along the lines II-II and III-III of FIG. 1;

[0013] FIGS. 4, 5 and 6 illustrate in cross section three steps of the transformation of the track element from the substantially plane configuration to the important three-dimensional configuration due to the engagement of the spacers.

[0014] FIGS. 7 and 8 show in two views a spacer.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0015] Referring to the drawings, FIG. 1 shows a track element comprising an exit guide member 1, having the shape of a hollow cylinder with vertical axis, which is intended to be situated above the start point of a subsequent element of a fall type track for run of marbles, in such a way that a marble entering and then leaving the exit guide member 1 falls in a correct position onto the underlying track element and starts running thereon.

[0016] The track element further comprises an insertion guide member 1, situated at a certain distance (determined by the overall size allowed for the track element) from the exit guide member 1. The insertion guide member 2 has the shape of a hollow cylinder with vertical axis, having a slanting wall 3 suitable for conferring to a marble, vertically inserted into the insertion guide member 2, a horizontal movement component.

[0017] From the insertion guide member 2 to the exit guide member 1 extends a track section formed by a pair of rails 4 mutually connected by sleepers 5. The sleepers are curved with their concavity directed upwards, whereby they do not hinder the run of a marble on the track section 4. Both the insertion guide member 2 and the exit guide member 1 have their cylindrical walls open towards the track section 4, which is connected thereto. Preferably, the track section 4 has a main portion 4′ of substantially helicoidal shape, connected to the exit guide member 1, and an approaching portion 4″ which may be rectilinear and joins the insertion guide member 2 to the helicoidal portion 4′ of the track section. However, it is to be understood that the track section 4 of the track element may also receive conformations different from the above described one.

[0018] As it appears from FIGS. 2 and 3, the described track element is preferably manufactured in a plane configuration, as a single piece of plastic material. Some spacers suitably engaged, for example in the positions shown in FIG. 1, allow transforming the initial substantially plane configuration into the operative configuration, which is markedly three-dimensional. These spacers, as shown by FIGS. 7 and 8, may have a shaft 7 ending with two link shaped heads 8, directed towards opposite sides, whereby each spacer 7-8 has a general Z-shaped configuration.

[0019] The engagement of these spacers is clarified by FIGS. 4 to 6. According to FIG. 4, the whole comprising the insertion guide member 2, the exit guide member 1 and the track section 4 connected to said guide members still is in its plane configuration. Some sleepers 5 are provided at bottom with protrusions 6 suitable for being engaged by the link shaped heads 8 of the spacers. These latter are engaged by displacing along the arrows shown in FIG. 5, and they cause the track element to assume the important three-dimensional configuration shown in FIG. 6. Then is ensured the difference in height between the insertion guide member 2 and the exit guide member 1, and therefore the slope of the track section 4, needed in order that marbles introduced in the insertion guide member 2 run on the track section 4 until they enter the exit guide member 1 and therefrom fall on the subsequent track element and begin to run thereon. As it may be observed. the operation of engaging the spacers is easy, it may be effected by anyone and adds to the play an attractive having a constructive character.

[0020] In this way are put in agreement the requirements of an easy molding of the track element with plastic material, of a reduced volume thereof in the wrapping, and of an important three-dimensionality of the track section in the conditions of operation.

[0021] As it may be understood, the application of the present invention as a complement to a fall type track for run of marbles adds greater attractives and increases the use practicality of the play, in addition to rendering more easy and inexpensive the manufacture and wrapping.

[0022] Of course, the invention is not limited to the embodiment described and illustrated by way of example. Several modifications are within the reach of those skilled in the art, particularly in the choice of the trajectory of the track section connecting the insertion guide member to the exit guide member, in the configuration of these guide members and in the means ensuring the important three-dimensionality of the track element. These and other modifications and any replacement by technically equivalent means may be applied to what has been described and illustrated, without departing from the spirit of the invention and the scope of the appended Claims.